Who has the arrogance to accurately trace the proliferation of genres? Who has the hubris needed to claim that they have accurately described the narrative surrounding even one style of music? Apparently, a lot of people as music journalism is obsessed with “understanding” (read, limiting) genres and telling us their stories. Case in point: progressive rock. When I say those words, a set number of not only bands but also of locals spring to your mind: England, King Crimson, the United States, Genesis, Woodstock, Atlanta, East Village, Yes, Canterbury and many more. But there exist locals and names that were never included in the official narrative and thus don’t gain a lot of attention even today, except from enthusiasts who, in their search for the new, have ended up on the fringes of the genre.
Finland is a fantastic example of this, as is Scandinavia in general. How many people know about the Finnish progressive rock scene? The Wikipedia category includes just 15 bands while this less than kind Rate Your Music entry still has at least thirty. Or what about the Norwegian progressive rock scene, which gave us Wobbler, one of the finest bands operating in the genre today? To this list of missed bands, you should now add Malady. The Finland based band is everything that’s excellent about Finnish progressive rock: the obsession with powerful composition, the incredible wood instrumentation, the moving vocals in what turns out to be an incredibly lyrical and compelling language. The expansive of the composition. Just check out “Loittoneva varjoni” and “Pieniin saariin” (“my striking shadow” and “little islands”, respectively) from their 2015 self-titled release.
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God damn, there’s just so much here to unpack. The King Crimson influences are obvious but there’s some Camel hanging out in there as well. Everything just shines with this pristine and brilliant light of true passion for music. What I like the most is the focus on emotional delivery instead of wild instrumentation, the careful construction of track structure and, of course, the prominent bass. And that tasty guitar/bass/synth solo at the middle of “Pieniin saariin”? It’s truly a joy to listen to. The best part? Malady are set to release their sophomore release on March 17th, from the incomparable Svart Records, experts in anything Finnish and music related. And Toinen toista (“Second one”) is an even better album than what you got to taste here. Get hyped.